Can you autocross at Electric Car?

My 16 year old daughter had me driver her to a drivers training class last Saturday, she never bothered to tell me 1) how far away it was 2) that we needed to use our cars for an intensive collation avoidance class.

As you know already I have been proud of my Zen master rating that my car has assigned to me given my very environmentally conscientious driving behavior. Well that is long, long gone now! There were several events in the class that consisted of a high speed slalom course, with several runs. Maximum acceleration to a gate, then maximum breaking, then a set of high-speed runs where the instructor would have your either break, go left or go right with a last minute hand signal. The high speed acceleration, with threshold breaking were terrible on the range. We lost about a mile point five for every run we did. After a while of this I gave up any home of getting home without a recharge.

The other students, parents and instructors were very impressed with how fast, how quite and how well the Ford Focus Electric handled. Essentially this was a day of autocross, and it was quite a good experience.

By the time the event was over we were 17 mines short of range to return home. Rather than find a charging station I decided to see just how much we could milk the remaining battery an go for broke. We headed home and slowly gained a few miles. It seemed we were not going to make it home at freeway speeds. That weekend the 405 North and 520 bridge were shutdown for repaving, so we had a stop and go detour route to get around the repairs, and that was just what the doctor ordered. The lower speed stop and go was perfect for getting maximum range out of the EV, and mile by mile we got up to a 2 mile surplus from a 17 mile shortfall.

We finally got back on the freeway and headed home. I knew the long downhill grade would help the return trip, and after having lost much of the stop-and-go surplus getting back on the freeway, the decent got us back to our +2 surplus and it stayed there till we drove into the garage. The two miles seemed like a rounding error in a single charge range limit, but I think you can really scale the mileage to the range you need. I made it work because I had to!

I doubt I will have to cut it this close in the future, and knowing we passed several level 2 charging stations that would have gotten us all the way home with plenty to spare for a quick 20 minute stop, I think I can say I am cured of any range anxiety I might have had.

As an update since my wife had taken over the car and replaced driving here 12mpg Ford Expedition, we are saving almost $400/mo in Gas for $28 in electricity, we estimate that the total cost savings nets us $60/mo after the lease payments and insurance so we are essentially paid $60/mo to drive a electric car while still keeping our original 8 passenger vehicle for towing and family outings.


Jonathan Fay

Comments (1)
  1. alke says:

    This model is fsantastic!

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